(Un)Fair & (Im)Balanced

(Un)Fair & (Im)Balanced


Still Wondering if Santorum is a Theocrat?

posted by cpiatt

Sometimes political candidates get wrongly labeled as a theocrat (one whose policy decisions are directly influenced by divine guidance) simply because they’re conservative. So when I heard the “T” word being batted around with regard to Rick Santorum, I hedged.

Until this past weekend, that is.

As the old saying, wrongly attributed quite often to Mark Twain, goes: “Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” Well, it seems in the case of Santorum, this adage doesn’t apply.

And neither does the First Amendment of the Constitution, apparently, except when it serves an existing political agenda.

Speaking to George Stephanopolous on Sunday, Santorum offered the following quote:

“The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country…to say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes me want to throw up.”

Well, get your barf bag ready, pal, because a healthy number of your own constituents are constitutional purists. At least they say they are. Even Santorum himself continues to cater to his Tea Party followers by praising them for upholding the Constitution as central to the way wee govern ourselves. But it seems we can’t get any further than the Free Exercise Clause in the First Amendment before the water gets a little muddy.

Thomas Jefferson was a strong proponent of the “wall of separation” between church and state, and for good reason. Having emerged from a theocratic state where the church wielded great power over the citizens of the British Empire, Jefferson and others were reluctant to reinvent the same problems under which they’d suffered back in the motherland.

Seems to me if a clause makes it in the very first amendment to the constitution, it’s pretty important, right?

At issue, to me, seems to be the logic employed by Santorum to go from a constitutionally mandated wall of separation between church and state, and assuming that this means that “people of faith have no role in the public square.” This is simply ignorant, as many of the writers of the constitution were men of faith; they simply didn’t believe that the Church (big “C,” mind you, as in the institution) should be involved in matters of politics.

Can they speak publicly about matters they consider ethical? Of course.

Can politicians seek religious counsel in making their decisions? Absolutely.

Should religious organizations have direct influence on public policy? Big no-no, that one.

I’m no constitutional scholar, but this seems pretty clear-cut to me. So either Rick Santorum lacks a fundamental understanding of the Free Exercise Clause, or he is, in a roundabout way, advocating for a more theocratic form of government.

Neither of these would endear him to the late Thomas Jefferson, I’d guess.

And as a side note, Though I have no particular horse in this race, I can’t wait to see what happens Tuesday night in the Michigan GOP primary. Honey, put on some popcorn, ’cause it’s gonna be a good one!



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Paul

posted March 4, 2012 at 4:10 am


Santorum is a dangerous fanatic. Certifiable.



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